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Medical Disability California: Eligibility Requirements And How To Apply

Last updated: April 8, 2023

If you have a disability or a medical condition that keeps you from working, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance or Disability Insurance. 

As part of the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program, Disability Insurance (DI) compensates California workers for lost wages due to illnesses, injuries, or pregnancy that are not work-related. California workers pay their SDI contributions through payroll deductions.

If you are applying for disability insurance, this guide will show you how to qualify and apply for medical disability (California).

Disability Insurance In California

Disability Insurance In California

California is one of the few states that offers a paid short-term disability program. As part of this program, employees who are temporarily disabled are paid a portion of their usual wages through payroll deductions.

Additionally, this program provides disability benefits to most California employees who meet the state's eligibility requirements. After submitting the paperwork, you'll receive benefit payments, usually every two weeks, until you can work again.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for benefits, you must meet the following conditions:

  • Incapable of performing your regular work tasks for a minimum of eight consecutive days
  • Have been working or seeking employment when you became disabled
  • Have lost income as a result of your disability. 
  • Your previous income included state disability insurance deductions of at least $300
  • You are treated by a licensed physician or accredited religious practitioner
  • With a complete claim form mailed within 49 days of becoming disabled
  • Your doctor has completed the medical certification section of the form

How To File For Disability

You can file a claim for disability benefits if you believe you are eligible.

  • Get a copy of the form from the employer, the employee's health care practitioner, or the state's Economic Development Department’s (EDD) website
  • Fill out part of the form, and leave the rest to your healthcare practitioner
  • File your Claim for Disability Insurance Benefits claim by mail or use SDI Online for faster processing
  • File and manage your disability claim with SDI Online by registering and creating an account through Benefit Programs Online
  • Complete and submit the form to the EDD within 49 days of becoming disabled

The EDD may contact you or your employer for any questions or confirmation. In case you are eligible, a notice will be sent to you indicating your eligibility, your projected benefit amount, and the approximate start date of your benefits. Benefits will be paid to you every two weeks via a debit card.

Ineligibility For SDI

Applicants may not qualify for SDI benefits for several reasons. Below are the following situations when you may not be eligible:

  • You are not losing wages
  • You are receiving or claiming Unemployment Insurance benefits
  • Your disability occurred as a result of committing a crime
  • You are in prison after being convicted of a crime
  • You receive Workers' Compensation benefits that are equal to or greater than Social Security Disability Insurance benefits
  • You do not have an independent medical examination

Frequently Asked Questions

We have answered some frequently asked questions regarding medical disability (California) benefits and payments.

How long does it take to qualify for disability in California?

Your eligibility will be determined once they receive your completed claim application. It might take up to 14 days to complete this process. The processing time for each claim may vary. Incomplete claims or those requiring additional information can delay eligibility confirmation.

What is the minimum disability benefit in California?

SDI calculates your average weekly wages based on the quarter in which you earned the most. SDI benefits are usually 60–70% of these average weekly wages, with a maximum of $1,620 per week and a minimum of $50.

Is it hard to get disability in California?

SDI claims are easy to file in California. You can get a copy of the form from the state's Economic Development Department (EDD) website, the employer, or the employee's health care practitioner.

How soon will I receive my first benefit payment after I submit my completed claim form?

Once a properly completed claim is received by mail or online, most benefits will be issued within two weeks. Ensure that all information is accurate before you submit your application to speed up the processing of your benefit payment.

Contact EDD for your SDI if you have recently lost your job or cannot find work due to physical or mental impairments. If you meet all the eligibility requirements, you can receive medical disability (California).

If you think you are eligible for SDI or SSDI benefits, you need to know which documents are integral to the application process. You can find out more about the Social Security Disability forms for doctors to fill out in our Disability Help guide.

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Zoey Appleton
Zoey has worked with Cheri for years and has been creating the best articles not only for Disability Help but for our readers. Her job hits close to home for she has a brother with special needs. She hopes to see science and technology pave the way for a better life, with Disability Help to cover it and share it with those that need it.
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